It’s no secret that many traditional dance retailers view online retailers as a threat. They’re open 24 hours a day, customers don’t have to travel farther than their sofas to shop there and many of the big sites offer notoriously low prices. For years, the question running through this industry’s collective mind has been: How can independent brick-and-mortar stores possibly compete? While there’s likely no going back to a time when local mom-and-pops were the only option dancers had, it has certainly been established that consistently providing unparalleled customer service, offering a product selection laser-targeted to suit the needs of the local dance community and creating memorable, personalized experiences for every shopper is an excellent start.
But what about the stores that have found a way to “be all things to all people”? This month, we hear from a few dance stores with both thriving store-based and web-based businesses in “Mastering Multichannel Retailing” (page 22). These dance retail veterans explain how they developed the online segments of their businesses and how these moves have supported and grown their brands. One store, for example, rings up $50,000 in sales annually from its online store, alone!
Granted, simultaneously running a physical and virtual store isn’t for everyone. But, for those storeowners with the time, money and manpower necessary to make such an investment, it may be a worthwhile move that increases the chances of long-term success. After all, as writer Basia Hellwig points out, “with most consumers now looking and researching online before going shopping at a brick-and-mortar store, storeowners can’t afford to completely ignore the online selling world.”
Wishing you a month filled with innovation,